Getting a great value banjo at a good price is not easy. Doing thorough research is a safe way that can help you land a quality banjo, which can give precise and long-lasting service with minimal maintenance needs.
If you are a first-time buyer and looking to have a quality instrument while you are on a budget, this article is meant for you.
In a Hurry? – Here are the top banjos for the money:
- Best Overall – Deering Goodtime
- Best Budget Option- ADM 5-String
- Best Under $1,000 – Washburn B9
- Best Under $500 – Oscar Schmidt
- Best Under $300 – Gold Tone
- Best Under $200 – Kmise
- Best Value – Vangoa
- Resonator – Ashthorpe
- Open Back – Rover RB-20
- Most Ratings – Costzon
We have done the research for you. Feel free to skip around and find the banjo that is best for you and your budget.
Here are the best banjo for your money.
Top 10 Banjos For The Money
#1 Deering Goodtime 5-String Banjo
The first Banjo to take a good look at is the Deering Goodtime 5-String banjo. To start off this banjo is highly reviewed and well liked, having dozens of clients praise it for what it offers, how it sounds and the overall price.
The features of the banjo include a slender rock maple neck along with a 3 ply maple rim and sealed geared tuners. It also has an adjustable tail piece and the single coordinator rod the features on this item make adjusting easier and quite positive to accomplish.
The slender neck on this banjo makes it both easier and comfortable for hands of all sizes. This banjo weighs close to four pounds and can be brought of hikes and camping and is ideal for both beginners and those whom are experienced players of the banjo.
#2 Vangoa 5-String Banjo
Another banjo that may interest many banjo players would be the Vangoa 5 String Banjo Remo Head Closed Solid Back.
For the banjo panel it used a high quality Remo drum head that is able to produce a sweet tone. The banjo also has a truss rod that is able to adjust the string height of the instrument. This banjo is compromised of durable material that is smooth to touch and comes with its own kit to assist the beginners.
This banjo comes with its own carrying kit for easy travel and can be plugged to an amplifier. This banjo can also to turned into an open banjo by detaching the back part. It is highly recommended by many clients for its features as well as its low price.
#3 ADM 5-String Banjo
The next banjo to take into consideration for playing is the ADM 5-String Banjo 24 Bracket with Closed Solid Wood Back and Geared 5th Tuner.
This banjo also comes with a beginner kit holding a gift package. The AM 5 is a full sized 5 string banjo with Geared 5 tuner. This banjo comes into a weight of 8 1/2 pounds
This banjo also features a chrome plated arm rest, 24 brackets and a adjustable hinged tailpiece. This banjo also has a mahogany shell that is able to bring out sweet sounds.
This banjo is great for those who are just beginners in using that instrument and want to learn more while using it. It also comes with extra sets of strings, 3 picks and a tuner when ordering. A great banjo to use for students of music as well as teachers.
#4 Costzon 5-String Banjo
Another ideal banjo to look at that is at a fair price would be the Costzon 5-String Banjo 24 Bracket. This banjo comes with a Gear 5th turner along with a mid-range closed handle.
The material of the banjo is mainly compromised of wood and steel. This banjo has durable and solid plywood frame that is in high quality that is ensured to be used over a long course of time. The Gear 5th tuner feature is ideal for those whom enjoy country music and is able to bring out classic sound.
The mid range closed handle can help in giving various ranges for people to be able to hold and control. The strings though steel are solid and can be plucked upon with no trouble or damage. This banjo also comes with a carrying bag to ensure further safety and easy carry.
#5 Oscar Schmidt OB3 Banjo
The next banjo to consider is the Oscar Schmidt OB3 Open-Back 5-String Banjo. This banjo is ideal banjos for beginners featuring a geared 5th string tuner as well as an mahogany resonator.
This banjo comes at around a weight of 8 pounds. It comes with a Rosewood Fretboard and also a remo head while Ovankool has the feature of Nato neck.
It can also can be used an open banjos, producing great sounds. Both of these versions are great for those whom are just getting into using the banjo for the first time and want an easy start.
#6 Washburn Americana B9 Banjo
The last banjo to discuss would be the Washburn Americana B9, Resonator Banjo.
This banjo is a 5-string resonator banjo with an aluminum rim. It also has a chrome arm rest for better comfort for its player. It has a traditional tail piece with a geared 5th string Planetary tuner.
This banjo has been used since the 1800’s and is described to be one of the finest banjo’s since then and holds up well today by many.
#7 Ashthorpe 5-String Banjo
With the Ashthorpe 5-String Banjo, you’ll be unstoppable no matter what type of music you want to play. This full-Size banjo is up for any occasion, be it a colorful day at the barn or an elegant spell before bedtime.
It’s on the cheaper side of the budget but it definitley doesn’t sound or feel that way.
Pop open some frosty beverages and tune your fingers to GCEA with its closed back construction and mahogany resonator that fits tight into every shape needed when playing bluegrass standards.
#8 Gold Tone Banjo
This banjo is for the beginner banjoist who’s looking to get their feet wet, this Gold Tone 5-string Banjo is for you and able to play any bluegrass or folk setting.
With its mahogany neck, composite rim, Zero Glide Nut System (with factory pre-set glides) and transferable 5 year warranty, this instrument feels like a high end banjo that it’s surprisingly affordable!
Don’t let your dreams of picking up an instrument be hampered by sticker shock; try out the Gold Tone 5-String Banjo today.
#9 Kmise 5-String Banjo
The Kmise 5-String Banjo is perfect for any instrument enthusiastic. Made of top quality materials, the back of the instrument is closed to help playability and tuning stability. The satin finish allows you to find beauty in all forms throughout this product create by attentive individuals who care about your passion for music.
With all the features you’ll need to play like a pro, this model is perfect! The Kmise 5-String Banjo has an ebony cap bridge and armrest so you’re always properly seated while playing.
This full kit comes with accessories including banjo tuner/metronome app along with picks and strings to get you started. If bluegrass isn’t your thing then just slip the 6 included drumheads onto it and get ready to rock out!
#10 Rover RB-20
The Rover RB-20 Open Back Banjo is the perfect instrument for people who are wanting to take up this genre of music or are already an avid banjo player.
It features a 24 fret, Grooved tension hoop Standard spacing using 24 Flat hook and nut set for head attachment Deluxe Vega style armrest.
Traditional No knot tailpiece exquisite mahogany neck with East Indian Rosewood fingerboard inlaid dot position markers and adjustable truss rod Guitar style geared tuners w/geared 5th peg that can be easily tuned without having to move your hand far away from the pegs.
This model also includes a rosewood bridge so there’s even more tone control!
There is a wide number of banjos to choose from from this list. All these banjos are ideal for those whom wish to get into playing the banjo or those whom already have a strong love for it and wish to further expand on it.
Choosing The Best Banjo For The Money: Complete Guide
When it comes to hobbies there are a lot of unique ones to choose from. The choices can come from collecting certain items to creating art, such as painting, drawing or writing.
There is also the hobby of becoming a musician. More and more people today are slowly honing in their music skills and trying out a variety of instruments.
This can include, the drums, guitar and even the banjo. The banjo is a unique choice for many to take interest in. It is quite a tool to use, with many to choose from. Many consider taking up such an instrument as a hobby, hoping they can greatly profit from playing such a device.
However, one most be considerate of the price of the instrument. In both instances, an individual most be careful when picking out the best banjo for the money.
Things You Should Know To Choose The Best Value Banjo
When you are trying to find the best value for your money, it means your purchasing power is limited, and so you can only look for an instrument that is within the amount of money you have and willing to invest.
For instance, as a buyer with only $300, you will research the best types of banjos that sell at that price point or below. You may get a banjo that sells for less, yet having the same quality specs with another more expensive banjos like $1,000. This means some cost may be just ornamental may be due to aesthetic additions.
The Ease Of Use
Despite being on a tight budget, whether a beginner or not, buying a quality comfortable to use banjo is essential.
Some factors are responsible for banjo usability, for instance, the construction and how straight a banjo neck is. Appropriately dressed frets and the fretting action is something to consider checking.
A quality banjo should give you diverse notes as you press the strings against the frets. The banjo should produce a unique clean sound, without much pressing effort. Moreover, usable banjos should have an action that is as low as possible, which is the distance between the frets and the strings.
Depending on the bridge position of the banjo you are buying, it should have smooth intonation. Ease of tuning up and down the bridge is something good to consider because, unlike other stringed instruments such as guitars which have fixed bridge, banjos have a movable bridge.
Number of strings
Depending on your preference or recommendation, you can either buy a 4 string, 5 string, 6 string, or an 8 string banjo. However, 5 string is more popular and accessible; the number of strings has less impact on the quality of the tune. The 8 string is a banjo mandolin, which is a blend of mandolin and banjo features.
Open or closed back/resonator
Some banjo has closed-back, said to have a resonator which is attached to the back of the drum.
Sitting down while playing a closed-back banjo helps in projecting the sound upwards. Open-back banjos produce quieter sound while those with resonator make a louder sound and are many bluegrass’s players favorite.
Most professionals players prefer closed back banjos, especially when playing bluegrass music. The open-back banjos are lighter than closed-back, which makes them more comfortable, and hence recommendable for beginners.
Read more about Open vs. Closed Back Banjos
The scale length
The length between the nut and bridge is known as the scale length. It is also the total length of the vibrating steel wire producing the sound. All strings of the banjos are tuned to the same musical note despite their varying length.
Playing banjo will always remain effortless, and the sound unchanged as long as the steel wire is not overstressed. Some expert players stretch the steel wire to the 26′ which enhances the quality of sound produced significantly, but playing gets harder.
The quality of sound and the price of a banjo depends greatly on the materials making it. When you are buying a banjo, be mindful that you buy the exact value of your money since some sellers may lower the price to win a buyer when in a real sense, the instrument is made of low-quality materials.
For instance, in the two common materials making a banjo, that is mahogany and maple, maple made produces a brighter sound. In contrast, the one constructed using mahogany has a soft sound with mild frequencies.
There are two types of steel rings, the flattop, and the archtop. The archtop steel ring produces a brighter sound, and that is why many Irish music players prefer archtop.
Beginners Guide Before Buying a Banjo
Check Brand Reputability
If you are a first-time buyer, do not give your hard-earned money even if the seller quotes your budget-friendly price before you do a ground search to ensure you are buying from a genuine quality seller.
This will protect you from buying a fabricated falsehood when it comes to the quality of the instrument. Without proper checking, it is easy you land on a banjo that is made of wrong materials, which will make your instrument wear out sooner or have a bad sound.
Make sure you buy a warranted banjo. A manufacturer that allows returning for replacement or repair in case of faulty at a stipulated period will give you confidence that you are buying the right thing. Also, check out if the warranty is well explained, sometimes you may assume there warrant when in the real sense, it is hard to meet the compensation requirements. Some warrants forbid the transfer of equipment, to mean that if you sell or give a friend or family, they cannot claim the warrant.
Customer Support Accessibility
Check out if the manufacturer is available to answer customers. Check their credibility and if their phone is picked by a real person, not a robot. Some sellers will never get out of technical errors or will never give feedback.
Repair Services Availability
Make sure you buy an ordinary banjo whose repair handymen are available in the town. Some instruments are rare, and when they need repair or parts replacement, the only option is disposing of. Sometimes the kind of banjos that are available even in the local stores is ideal.
This article gives you a brief guide to buying the kind of banjo that is comfortable when holding to play, and you can work on effortless. This guide can help even the first time buyer or a beginner know more about the banjo to buy on a budget and still get the quality values.